Joe Bataan

Man, I love Joe Bataan. I finally got to see him several years ago (circa 2004, I guess) at the Filipino Cultural Festival in San Pedro. All around those huge old trees with their screaming parrots was a sea of Filipinos. They were chattering like mad, averaged about four feet, and craned their necks and stared waaaaaay up at me, giggling. We got some pansit or something and watched the inevitable beauty contest. There was some important pinoy dude emceeing the thing, and some politicians, and somebody from the consulate. And there were two beauty queens, former Miss Philippine Cultural Festival or something. One was a perfect pinay virgin, prim, sinless, polite, with a sweet smile. The other was some saucy knockout, an LA girl, this smartass, hysterically funny gorgeous chick who made a risque joke and I fell immediately in love with her, of course. She had some kind of connection with the LA Raiders, had been a girlfriend or something. A wantonly sexy woman. I remember the good beauty queen was obviously offended by her.

Anyway, there was some bad singing group that opened and went on forever. Then out came Joe Bataan. Really thick NYC accent and attitude. He called himself Joe Bataan (as in ran), and not Bataan (as in on) or Joe Bata’an (as in ah-on), which is how he was introduced. What an amazing set. Great soul and funk, all the classics. A total showman, he owned that stage. I stood in line afterward to have him sign the CD I bought there….something I never did before or after. I felt like a complete geek. But he was soooooooooooooooo cool, that Joe Bataan….

(2003 or so)

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